Monday, November 14, 2011

Small Rocks, Great Waves?

I'mma have to go public with my NaNoWriMo efforts. I have to make it too embarrassing to give up. The word count is already pretty embarrassing. Only 42-thousand-and-whatever words to go.
Here's an intro (because fuck synopses, that's why), and the excerpt. If you're doing NaNo, too, and want to be best friends, my handle is "mnhanson." No, really.
BONUS! for those who make it through to the end.

Introduction (also titled, "TL;DR")

The Bafth, as a nation, no longer exists. The island itself is still there – rocky and covered in sand, with all of its beaches and brush-like flora – but the tiny democratic-socialist government that made it The Bafth is gone. The island itself is not an unpleasant place, but it has never been friendly to outsiders, few of whom are inclined to visit.

First, there's all the bureaucratic red tape one has to cut through just to spend a week there. No matter what government runs the island, that has been the one constant – so many formalities and regulations that by the time you're halfway through the paperwork, the most recent invasion has installed a new government, and the cycle must begin again.

Secondly, while the island may be covered in beaches, it is rarely warm enough to swim or sun bathe. In addition, the soil structure is poor, so the native diet is fairly bland. A traditional meal may consist of your standard root vegetables, dairy products made from goat milk, and a brand of wild pork, which is a bit gamey but leaner than most other species. Guinea pig is quite popular (after a similar rodent was wiped out due to over-hunting).

Finally, it is a place that has never been considered glamorous by the outside world, and probably not by those who live there, either. The island built its first movie theater in 1962, and it is still not uncommon for a family to be without a computer in the house. This has as much to do with the island's tradition of isolation as it does with its economy.

There are no 'true' natives left. Due to its strategic position, the island is high on the radar of multiple foreign governments, leading to a constant cycle of colonization, revolution, decolonization, revolution, and then back to colonization again. Thus, every single inhabitant of the island has an ancestry of multiple races and cultures. It is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit that the inhabitants still manage to find methods by which to alienate certain groups and pin them against each other.

From 1966 until 1991, the island was known as The Bafth, an independent nation.

Freya grew up in The Bafth, born four months after the last Propriytaire was stripped of his estate, and the social democracy was established. Freya liked to write in her journals about her friends and neighbors. Sometimes she wrote stories. Sometimes she wrote poetry. Sometimes she wrote in the third person.


Saturday, September 23, 1978 – Béuzulmün, Festival of the Autumnal Equinox

Freya and Boone pushed through the swaying crowd. Freya felt her bones vibrating with heavy drum beats, her skin coated with slimy sweat as she slid through the sea of bodies. People were drunk and brazen, which alarmed her, and she kept a grip on Boone's shirtsleeve. She wrapped her hand around his skinny bicep and let him pull her along.

The origins of Béuzulmün went back more than a millennium. It seemed to bring out some ancient hedonism buried in the collective consciousness of the culture. Freya couldn't articulate her thoughts on this phenomenon just yet, but she was thirteen and perceptive enough to make the connection between the deafening drums and the socially acceptable abandonment of inhibitions. Where she grew up, on an island small enough to walk from one end to another in an afternoon, most people didn't drink and dance in the streets.

Freya's parents threw a relatively tame party each year for the festival, and she had previously been confined to the safety of their home, hiding in her room to read while her mother occasionally stumbled in with a plate of hors d'ourves. At school the next day, Freya would enviously listen to her classmates describe their adventures from the night before; running freely, unsupervised, setting off fireworks and stealing half-drunk cocktails. They swapped stories of spying on grown-ups making out in public, groping each other and having sex in the woods.

This year, it was unseasonably warm. Freya was restless. She didn't want to stay in her room.

"I'll stay with Boone the whole time," she'd promised her mother, who was already starting to wobble.

"There are kids way younger than me on the square."

"No, I don't want you on the square tonight," her mother had said. "Okay, fine, you can go out with Boone, but stay in the neighborhoods. And be back after the fireworks."

That had been a surprise, and something else Freya was starting to pick up on: how to recognize in her mother that warmed-over look of mild intoxication, which meant that it was a good time to ask for things.

But now Freya understood why her mother typically kept her and her sisters at on large festival nights.

A topless woman with painted breasts shimmied at Boone and Freya. Boone stared at the bouncing breasts in fascination. Freya felt her face get hot as she was reminded of the two small, pointed mounds that had recently begun poking through her shirt. She wasn't sure if she wanted them to disappear or if she was eager for them to grow bigger so boys might pay as much attention to her as they did to the pretty girls in her class, like Jule Papadakis and Carlotta Lamartine. They were the most popular girls, and they'd both been wearing bras for a year.

Boone never said anything to Freya about her breasts, but she'd seen him looking at them.

The closer the two of them got to the square, the more women had abandoned their shirts. To a couple of kids, it was like overlooking a vast field of tits. Boone seemed interested in all of them, regardless of what they looked like or who they belonged to, but he shrugged and smiled at Freya's apparent discomfort, as if it was all perfectly normal. She thought he was just pretending not to be impressed, like he'd seen it all; boys always acted like they knew all about girls, even when they'd never even kissed anyone.

SUPER BONUS! for those who make it through the BONUS! 

There once was a girl from Io-way,
Who decided to tear her fly away.
     She ripped off her pants,
     Did a shimmy-ful dance,
Said, "My butt's naked, I like it that way!"


I've never seen anyone so happy about being chased by a wild animal and, inevitably, mauled. All while naked. Sorry about the nipple shields. I'd feel bad if anyone got in trouble at work for looking at my stupid blog.

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